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Grateful Dead Live at O'Keefe Center on 1967-08-04

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Grateful Dead Live at O'Keefe Center on 1967-08-04

Topics Live concert

New Potato Caboose, Viola Lee Blues

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue O'Keefe Center
Location Toronto, ON

Source Soundboard
Lineage SBD > MR >? > 2R > C > CD > SHN
Taped by
Transferred by Hanno Bunjes & Uli Teute


This is a different version than the MR>R>D that commonly circulates. The sound on this version is noticeably less flat.


Reviewer: mvoisine - favoritefavoritefavorite - December 13, 2013
Subject: Viola best?
Just because it clocks in at 19+ minutes does not make it great.
Reviewer: clementinescaboose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 15, 2011
Subject: Holy Fuckin' Viola Lee
Phleshy I normally agree with your insights, but to call this VLB "far from a true gem" is blasphemy!! This is simply on of the very best I have ever had the pleasure of laying my ears on!!!!!!

Imho this blows 9/3 away - that version is great but a bit repetitive and unfocused, to my ears at least. This one, as someone else noted, is totally unique, and Garcia's playing is some of the most compelling I've ever heard on this song...more must here stuff from '67!
Reviewer: East Coast Dave in WA - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 4, 2010
Subject: Viola Lee Blues
I'm not as familiar with '67 as I am with other years (I'm a '70-72 guy most of the time). This show fragment makes me want to hear more, though. Goddamn if the Viola Lee isn't off the hook!
I see some people below have listed ones they think are "better". I'll have to check 'em out. It'd be nice if people would use terms like "I like this one better", since it's all subjective. All I know is, if this is average or below for 1967, then '67 was a great year!
Reviewer: L. Rosley - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 2, 2008
Subject: A Hendrix-inspired ending - an early experiment in feedback
Many reviews (including my own) focus on what Jerry was doing, but Phil was also a key part of the improvised counterpoint up until about 1975 (about the time alcoholism took its toll). Both Jerry and Phil do a good Viola Lee, though the New Potato is average for '67.

Viola Lee different, in that it is one of the first performances to end in feedback, one of the first extended feedbacks. Through 1966 and much of '67 they ended on the chord. But they had recently performed at the Monterey Pop festival, where Jimi Hendrix shocked the audience with 5 minutes of feedback, during which he burned and smashed his guitar--feedback still going.

Instead of violence during the feed back, the Dead go into campy vaudeville "outtro" that they had been ending shows with this year. Unfortunately, it's cut off here.

From this Monterey/Hendrix-inspired feedback ending, the Dead would expand feedback into a lengthy "song" in it's own right. Over the years, this evolved into the "space" that was a standard part of shows for decades.
Reviewer: swoelz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 24, 2006
Subject: send me those drugs!
What kind of wierd drugs is asabijin on and where can I get some. "Better than Jerry!" Surely you mean different. If Jerry's playing reminds you of this Jerry Miller from San Fran, could it possibly be that Jerry was one of his influences? Or am I just totally uneducated. Did this Jerry Miller come fist. There was another Jerry whom I'm told changed his name because San Fran wasn't big enough for two Jerry's. Any one remember whom I speak of? Since this site has become a forum for soul acritic's to lay down there opinions I welcome all you musicians to stream me some of your music. We are long overdue for some truely great soulful music. Is Jerry better than Trey, is Trey better than Chet, Is Chet better than Merle, is Merle better than JORMA, or could they all be just different? As far as these knock off Jerry G's, none of them can touch em' in my simple mind.
Reviewer: asabijin - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 31, 2006
Subject: Garcia rocks
Jerry Garcia indeed rocks on this. His playing reminds me of another (better) Jerry from San Francisco: Jerry Miller of Moby Grape.
Reviewer: capn doubledose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 9, 2006
Subject: wow
What a Viola Lee Blues... Check out the 'Thats all folks' Jerry belts out at the end.
Reviewer: cardgamermanguy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 18, 2005
Subject: Probably best viola
i haven't heard them all, but i like this viola lee blues the most. Jerry is usually extremely redundant with his guitar licks in most versions i've heard, but not this one. He's smokin'. And the band is right with him and probably the tightest they've been on this song. its incredible. sound quality is 70%.
Reviewer: skwimite - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 28, 2005
Subject: Just Viola Baby
It's difficult to quantify "best" of anything, and a particularly daunting task when it comes to Grateful Dead music. Hence, I will say this is my favorite Viola Lee Blues, acknowledging the merits of the other ones mentioned. It has a few slack moments, but when it moves, it's a force of nature. If you like this song in all it's reckless abandon, download immediately. 5 Stars.
Reviewer: phleshy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 24, 2005
Subject: Viola
Come on guys, this Viola Lee is far from a true gem. To my ears, it sounds surprisingly aimless and boring. Jerry plays some great speedy licks, true, but that's not enough to really make it a great version. You want a SMOKIN' Viola from '67? Try 6/18 or 9/3. Those Violas kick this one in its proverbial ass. The New Potato is OK, nothing special.
This show makes good filler.
Reviewer: MorninDew - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 26, 2005
Subject: Viola Lee, Baby!
The New Potato is alright. I'm not really a fan of live version of NP because usually the vocals sound HORRIBLE. The jamming is usually pretty good, but the singing is just BAD (sorry fellas.) This version is funny though, cuz Jerry opens saying "This next song is called New Potato Caboose, don't ya know." I always loved Jerry's comments in the early days (see 5/5/67's stage banter for a better example!)
The true gem here is the Viola Lee. Clocking in at 20:20, this is a true marvel. I always loved this song, and this is probably one of my favorites. The vocals are spot on and the jamming is precise and awe-inspiring. This is SUCH a good version. And the sound quality is pretty much perfect. There's a little hiss, but that's nothing. Listen to other 67 recordings and you'll see that this small amount of hiss is NOTHING.
This is seriously some VERY good early stuff. Agressive (not 68 agressive, but close) primal dead at its best. Seriously consider downloading this stuff!!
Reviewer: nasty_llama - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 14, 2005
Subject: 8-4-67
The Born Cross-Eyed is OK...the vocals are a bit better than usual sometimes, butyou might even want to cover your ears at some points. The jam is mellow and not bad but not great.

The reason you should get this is for the Viola Lee Blues. At 20 minutes in length, you know there's some serious stuff goin' down.

The vocal are better than usual for the time, but what makes this spectacular is how Jerry is exploring every possible opprotunity that the song affords. At first the jams are pretty mellow, but Jerry brings them up to the song's natural intenseness. Then something weird happens. The keyboards are playing Caution. Then Phil's playing Caution. Jerry still won't bite and go for a Caution Jam inside the tune. Then you hear Bob playing some Caution! Jerry won't have any part of it. The song is Viola Lee Blues and he's not gonna go for the bait. After the climax is reached in the final jam and the song reprises itself, Jerry milks it much longer than usual before going back into the final vocal run. Even after that point, the song goes on.

The tape cuts when the music is still playing. It sounds like Jerry is going to go into another song, but I can't be sure what.

This is a must-have just for that one song. A 20 minute Viola Lee Blues? More than definately worth the download.
Reviewer: billycuts - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 4, 2005
Subject: Great
Great early Dead. The Viola Lee Blues is absolutely wonderful. 'The Deadheads Taping Compendium' lists Alligator as the first track on this show, but it's missing from here, would love to see that because of what they say in the Compendium, "'Alligator' features a jam every bit as intsense as the 'Caution' from 2/14/70"
Reviewer: noyz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 7, 2004
Subject: dead airplanes
veeery nice couple of songs here. the dead as a band are still young and i'm betting this was a show where the dead were probably the opening act for the jefferson airplane who also played on this date. With a little digging you can find the airplane set too (siiick), and all around its just awesome. Thanx again
Reviewer: hippieman556 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 4, 2004
Subject: this is sick
i really like this but there is only 2 songs where is the rest of this sick show you know
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